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Styling Cushions 101

Savvy styling with cushions is an art. There is so much more to consider than simple colour or pattern selection. I speak with Wendy Schmalkuche, Property Stylist for Uocmas Property Styling in Queensland about her go-to rules when it comes to cushion selection and styling.

“There are no set rules when it comes to styling with cushions. Scatter cushions are a wonderful way to enhance any scheme from retro to Hamptons to classic contemporary with colour, pattern and texture. I’m a firm believer in changing cushions when they start to look tired and as fashion changes – they offer an instant update to a room when replaced,” says Wendy.

She continues, “When styling a sofa or bed, start with the larger cushions towards the back and layer with smaller cushions at the front. Larger cushions act as a backer on sofas for extra comfort. Alternatively, to allow enough space for people to sit on a sofa, simply add one or two of the same size on each side. On a bed, the standard pillows should be at the back with European or larger pillows and finished with two accent cushions. We usually balance this look with a draped throw or upholstered bench at the end of a bed if space allows.”

On colour Wendy says, “We tend not to use too much colour when styling a property for sale, as it can be polarising, particularly in real estate photography. When we do incorporate colour into a scheme, we use versatile hues like indigo and mustard to enhance a neutral base. It is important to create a welcoming aesthetic, particularly for property styling, and soft, subtle accents of colour is a great way to do this.

“I suggest investing in good quality feather filled cushions as polyester inserts have a tendency to lose their shape with wear. Uocmas’s Miami Indoor Scatter range is understated and contemporary with a feather filled design.

Wendy continues, “We employ a styling tactic named the ‘Darren Palmer Chop’ when presenting a home. Simply, we karate chop the pillow in the top centre with our hands to create a 45 degree angle on each side. This only works on feather filled designs but offers a lived in feel.

“Matching cushions can offer the same end result as mixing different patterns and styles. It really is a personal preference however I always recommend layering textures in a living space or bedroom. Soften a leather sofa with linen cushions or add detail to an upholstered fabric sofa with a balance of cotton and knitted designs. 

In an outdoor space, Wendy says, “When it comes to styling outdoors, I employ the ‘less is more’ principle. On an outdoor sofa, add a few cushions as accents and never more. Think of styling as enhancing the natural surroundings rather than creating a distinct focus.”

Caitlan N

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